Creating Lifelong Readers


A recent article in School and Library Journal entitled Tips for Raising a Reader by Karen Jensen caught my eye. In the article, Karen provides some great tips and ideas to encourage children to become lifelong readers.

Some takeaways from her article:

  • Don’t fight about books – Fighting about reading attaches a negative connotation to reading. Instead, emphasize why reading is good and how it can enrich your life.
  • Audiobooks are a good thing – Studies show the same part of your brain used during reading a book are used when you listen to a book. Adults listen to audiobooks and don’t enjoy them less than they would a print book. The same applies to children.
  • Reading graphic novels is reading – In fact, the reader sometimes works harder to read a graphic novel due to text placement, yet enjoy them more.
  • Reading the same book over and over again is OK – We all have a favorite movie/book we’ve enjoyed more than once. We learn something new every time. The same applies to books. Isn’t that the goal? Let them enjoy reading.
  • Reading below level is acceptable – It means they are reading a book they have chosen that looks interesting to them. It is still reading.
  • Magazines are reading – Pick up titles that interest them next time you are in the store. Also consider subscribing to a magazine. Ask them to help choose a title.
  • Captions are your friend – Turn the closed caption option on when watching TV. It’s another way to incorporate reading into their day.
  • Set an example – Fill your home with books. Model reading to them. Books can be picked up at garage sales and thrift stores. They can be checked out at the library. They don’t need to cost a lot or even anything at all.
  • Always carry books with you – Stash them in your car for the unexpected. Allow them to read at restaurants before the food arrives. Take a book to read when waiting for appointments, while shopping or any time you have downtime. It is less stressful for everyone.
  • Talk with your children about what they are reading – Ask them questions about their books.
  • Don’t disregard digital devices – Children read while playing games, messaging friends and exploring the internet. While this doesn’t mean devices should be their only reading for the day, in moderation, it can contribute to building their reading skills.
  • Life is too short to read a less than pleasing book – Let your child know it is OK to put down a book they don’t like and move onto something they will enjoy. No one enjoys all books all of the time.
  • The ability to choose is important – If you give your child the option to choose their own books, they develop into confident readers with the ability to make good selections for themselves in the future.
  • Embrace reading – Use opportunities to relate books to their everyday experiences. If you go to the amusement park, check out a book from your library about roller coasters. If you try new foods, read about the people of the country of origin. Traveling to a new place? Check out a book about it.

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